New Delhi: The nine I-league clubs who had withdrawn from participation in the Hero Super Cup 2019, India's cup tournament, have now offered to play the tournament. The offer has come from the clubs following the All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel's letter to clubs, where he has assured that the clubs would be arranged for a meet in mid-April this year.
Nine out of the eleven I-league clubs had withdrawn from the Super Cup as a part of the protest against the AIFF for not providing them a time to meet the federation officials. The clubs cited 'unfair treatment' meted out to them as the reason for withdrawal from the tournament. The clubs wanted the Federation to arrange a meeting to discuss the future of the I-league, which they fear is in danger as the restructuring of the Indian football league seems imminent.
The clubs fear that in the new structure of the Indian football league, only the Indian Super League (ISL) clubs would get a place in the top tier, while all the I-league clubs would be left out and will be forced to play in the second division of the league, which is likely to be named League One. Now that the clubs have been assured of negotiation with the federation, they have expressed their desire to play the tournament.
However, the clubs have put forward a condition- all the I-league clubs must be allowed to participate, even the ones who were scheduled to play the qualifiers. This now means that the schedule has to be reshifted to accommodate the previously cancelled fixtures. The Federation might likely be doing so as they had asked the clubs to clear their stand on the participation in the tournament.
Minerva Punjab however, have demanded to arrange the league match against Real Kashmir before the qualifier match. A win or even a draw for Minerva would change the opponent team they will face in the qualifier.